Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Finding the One: Part Two

Other people may come to you prior to The One to help you clarify who she is and who she is not.

A term that many people use these days to describe the overanxious, sometimes desperate behavior of womyn wanting to be in a relationship is “thirsty”.  In my dating experience, I’ve experienced thirst. And I’ll make another analogy and say I experienced “hunger”. After being in a three year relationship that was emotionally flat, void of open communication and sexually dead I was starved for stimulation, adoration and touch. So I was easily enticed and fed on “empty calorie, junk food” relationships.

As a recovering foodie, I know I have to be careful of dishes that may look appetizing, smell good and taste good but that are not good for me. Or even if they won’t hurt me, they are just not on my food plan. I can get full, but not satisfied on such foods. Or, I may eat it, but it had no real sustenance or health benefits. And because there are certain foods that I really like (I am a potato chip connoisseur), I refuse to eat the light or diet version. Baked really isn’t the same as lightly fried and salted.

On our journey to connect with The One, a lot of womyn will come into our lives and perhaps appeal to our appetite for love and relationship. And some of them will be close to the qualities of the womyn we are best suited for and who is a match for us.

Researchers have concluded that this phenomenon of connecting with someone who is a faux match may be based in our inner emotional and social compass that is calibrated by unconscious and subconscious needs.

One theory that speaks to this is Imago theory, developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix.  Imago means: 'the inner unconscious image of the opposite sex' or what you're looking for in a partner but aren't aware of."

The “Imago” is a composite image in the unconscious of the significant character traits and behaviors of childhood primary caretakers. An individual who is like our caretakers in emotionally significant ways — our unconscious drives us to re-create our childhood psychological dynamics in an attempt to heal the central wounds we carry.

The notion is that were born whole and complete individuals. We became wounded in relationships during the early nurturing and socialization stages of development by our primary caretakers (usually inadvertently, in relationships with parents who were doing their best).We developed a composite image of all the positive and negative traits of our primary caretakers deep in our unconscious mind. This is our “Imago.” It becomes a blueprint of the one we will be consider our perfect match.

So in essence, we develop partnerships for the purpose of healing and repairing the unfinished business of childhood. Since we were wounded in relationship we need to repair in a relationship. Romantic love makes the selection and is nature’s way of connecting us with the perfect partner for our eventual healing.

The challenge is, when we aren’t clear, conscious and calm when we are seeking love, we attract someone who is matches the “blueprint”, but who isn’t willing or capable of helping us heal our wounds. And remember, she is acting out her own imago story. The limiting beliefs that hinder our best selection of a partner could be summarized in the messages and experiences based on our internal compass:
  • ‘I can’t do better’: One of the most common reasons for relationship dissatisfaction is choosing a partner that you don’t really like because of believing that you can’t do better. Settling is like buying a cheap imitation because you think that’s all you deserve even though you can afford the real thing.
  • Having past unfinished business: It’s a self-esteem boost if we managed to attract someone who resembles a person who rejected us in the past. But attracting people who resemble abusers may result in one being abused again.
  • Being too eager to find love: As humans we all need to be taken care of but when this need lets you chose someone who is bad for you then know that it became an unhealthy desire instead of a healthy need. Not feeling loved or nurtured creates vulnerability to accept those who give them attention with disregard to their real compatibility.
  • Being enamored with the idea of a relationship or “in love with love: Many people hate being single and long for the day they will be with someone. This intense desire might make a person blind when choosing a partner.
So check your internal compass before you actively seek The One. Is it directed by your broken spirit or wounded heart?  Do you need to examine your childhood experiences more closely to see how they influence your grown up relationships?  Is the person you have high passion with actually a composite of the chaos of your past?  Finding The One requires savvy “shopping”. Some womyn will be close to the real deal. But I’ve learned that cubic zirconium isn’t a diamond, it won’t cut glass. Plus Fool’s Gold looks good, but it can’t buy anything. The One isn’t a cheap imitation nor a nice “knockoff”.

Related Article:
Finding The One Part I: I Am One

Gwen Thomas is the author of The S.H.E. Experience, a woman’s perspective on self-actualization. She is also the President and CEO of The C.A.S.T. Company, which provides training, consulting and professional coaching to individuals and organizations. As speaker and consultant, she presents various professional development and personal growth topics. She has provided training and motivational speaking throughout the United States, in the Caribbean; a total of 7 countries on three continents.

She has experience and expertise in leadership and organizational development, communication skills and women’s professional and personal growth. She has spent the majority of her professional life motivating and teaching others in workplace settings and in spiritual environments.

Follow her at msgwen127@twitter.com

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Couple Highlight: Yvonne and Tiffany


Tiffany Harrison

New York, New York

This month we are revisiting and celebrating with one of the Create Love couples that we featured in February 2013. Yvonne shares her and wife’s views on parenting and offers advice for other same-sex couples. Thanks Tiffany and Yvonne for sharing your wisdom with the CL family and the world. And most of all, congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter, Zoe Doll.

Deciding to start a family for most couples involves a lot of heart searching. But for most same-sex couples it requires an additional amount of intention due to laws, legal protections and expense. How did you decide that it was time to add to your family? And, what advice would you give to other couples who are also considering parenthood? We both wanted to be parents and after being legally married, removing all debt, restoring our credit, pursuing our educational goals and becoming stable in ministry, we felt it was time to seek God on the addition(s) to our family. As soon as we developed stability, balance and financial security, we prayed for direction and God released us to begin the process.

We would advise other couples to communicate your desires, moral ethics, spiritual ethics, financial goals, career goals etc. before starting a family. 

What were the hardest conversations about co-parenting and why? And how did you navigate through those discussions? What areas do you think are potential land-mines that couples must be aware of during the pre-planning pregnancy process? Ironically, we were raised in two completely different spectrums but yet we have commonalities in parenting styles and we both believe that our child will be greatly influenced by the reciprocal interactions of both of us. The number one priority is co-parenting in a healthy way which will allow room for patience, open communication, boundaries, and spiritual guidelines that will foster training our child in the fear and admonition of the Lord. We believe couples must be aware of areas of child rearing that need to be discussed prior to stating the process. (Who will discipline, who will provide structure, who will lead spiritually, who will provide financially, what schools the child will attend). We were able to answer these questions through prayer and supplication. We are both equally navigating through each area.

I have many friends who have started a family together. Most of them say that they totally underestimated the impact of both of them having strong maternal instincts. What are thoughts and how do you anticipate addressing the 2 "mommy bear" dynamic? We've never been a couple fascinated with or bound by titles or roles in our marriage, therefore, our children will only know us as their mother. As 2 women with maternal instinct, that is the only role we can or have a desire to fill. We are both qualified, prepared, and led by the Holy Spirit.

I know sometimes in the lesbian community there is expectation about who should carry the baby, and the assumption is that one should carry over the other. I applaud you for honoring your relationship and not getting caught up in the fem/aggressor dynamic. But I am interested.....Did you experience any comments around "roles" and what advice can you give to other couples? Yes, more than I actually expected. In fact, when we decided to tell family and friends that I was carrying they couldn't believe it. We assessed who had the most astounding response. It was way too many to keep track. I told my church something profound. When I announced I was carrying, people were shock, surprised and taken aback. I said, "God will use who people LEAST EXPECT!" There was a blessing in the response of others. I told them to tap themselves on the chest and say, get ready because God is getting ready to use you because people least expect you. The people least expected me, the Pastor, the more aggressive. Our advice is, we were created to reproduce and that's not tied to a title or role. When you are married, you don't care who carries, you go above and beyond to extend your family. You don't get caught up in the stigma of roles in same-gender loving relationships. Motherhood is a blessing and if God made it possible for both, then why wouldn't we capitalize on the blessing and opportunity? 

Being a pastor and a minister, how do you feel parenthood will impact to your ministry? And, what have you put in place to provide support and to set boundaries so that your family does not become a casualty of the church. (I am a preacher's kid).The greatest impact will be the model that we set. We are legally married and we did it Gods way. Family is very close to God's heart. In fact, family was his idea from the very beginning. He has a divine purpose for our family and we have to recognize that what we model will ultimately set the standard. So, we can impact the church by representing a model that can positively affect our families and congregants aspiring to start a family.

Developing boundaries is crucial and critical to maintain a healthy family. We have a motto at church, "Family First" Now, we are not expecting change overnight, because we have trained the church in very ingrained patterns. In other words, our availability has been a top priority. We plan to reform it in a very progressive pattern. We intend to present a balance for our daughter which will allow her to decipher who we are in church and who we are outside of church. When we are home, we are parents and we will not bombard her with church life at home. 

Yvonne, I know that you plan on stepping back from the church for a few months while you and Tiffany get adjusted to your little bundle joy. I know as a career woman it was hard for me to slow down and step aside to nurture my relationships with my son, spouse and my own soul. What are your thoughts about balancing being a partner, parent, person and a pastor? One of the greatest blessings that I have is the understanding and patience of our church leaders and members. I don't feel obligated to be present because in my time in ministry, I've learned that Jesus set boundaries. Jesus had personal needs that he put priority on sometimes even over the needs of other people and he did so without feeling guilty. Motherhood is as important if not more important that Pastoring. I have to excel at managing my household and providing an example. I am very in tuned with my responsibilities, I take each of them seriously and I plan to be thorough and effective in all areas. Anything less would misrepresent God.

What can your congregants do to support you? 
To be honest, they've done enough. Their patience, understanding, provisions, presence and prayers have edified us beyond explanation. In a literal sense, they can continue to be present, active, faithful and responsible to care for the church in my absence. I have some of the best leaders in the kingdom and they are well equipped and prepared to be on the front-line for our church. 

What did you learn about yourself and about each other during the pregnancy?Tiffany: I learned that God could trust me to dedicate a child back to Him. I learned that my wife put us extending our family before herself and that's admirable.

Yvonne: I learned that I am trustworthy. To think that God entrusted me to carry and birth his child is indescribable. 

We learned that we are more suitable than we imagined. We don't have a perfect marriage but we have a purposeful marriage. This pregnancy has given us a new perspective on life, God, our marriage, and our families. God used our miracle to unite both sides of our families. It's inexplicable. 

You ladies are definitely role models in the community, and especially in the ministry. How do you ensure that you continue to walk in your purpose and not succumb to the tyranny of popularity? In ministry there is no such thing as popularity. Carnality seeks popularity. We are as the scripture says, "a peculiar people" If you remain in His will, and walk steadfast in humility, there's no room for our spirits to be subject to the world and popularity. As long as we keep Christ as the head of our marriage, our family, and our church, he will guide us in the way in which we should go. If your marriage points people to Christ then you are effective. We are committed to living our lives in a manner that will be pleasing to God and his followers.

What does family mean to you and why? A good Christian family is one which lines up with biblical principles and one in which each member understands and fulfills his or her God given role. Family was created by God, and we believe that we have been given the responsibility of exemplifying good stewardship over our family. Families differ in terms of economic, cultural, social, and many other facets, but what we consider family is operating in unconditional love despite of our differences, choices or circumstances in life.

What is your most important prayer and desire for your family? That we live and model a Christian family exemplifying the gifts of the spirit. That we extend the same grace that God extended toward us to his people. That we don't succumb to sin, or the desires of the world. That we love each other sacrificially and unconditionally. We desire to be a constant, consistent family to aid and support others in their desire to start a family.

In our communities, what can we do to better support same-sex families? We need to develop avenues that would create equal access to legal protection and social support for same sex families. We need greater visibility which can help to change the stereotypes that afflict our community, and make people aware of the structure and success, of same sex families.
On a very serious note, as it pertains to state and local laws we have to support nondiscrimination laws and utilize efforts that would have an impact on equality for our families.

We plan to be extremely vocal and active in enhancing the exposure of our family dynamic and the importance of integrating who we are into our community and those outside of our community.

What values do you hope to impart to Baby Zoe and why? The obvious values such as reverence for God, biblical principles, honesty, respect, compassion, forgiveness, unconditional love, responsibility, appropriate behavior, proper morals, ethics and the ability to be who God has made her to be.

You can also find Tiffany and Yvonne at:
Restoration Temple Ministries: 

Look for Yvonne’s soon to be released book: The Pain, The Process & The Promise

Please check out the first article on this wonderful couple: http://createloveforwomen.blogspot.com/2013/02/happy-couple-highlight-yvonne-tiffany.html

We thank you for sharing your love with us at Create Love! Your story will encourage, inspire and uplift other couples. We wish you continued success and happiness.www.createloveforwomen.com

Create Love Founders

Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison

NO MORE GAMES! Successful Dating Workshop


One workshop 2 dynamic components to help you step up your dating game. Being single should be fun!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Single Highlight: Angelia "Love" Henderson

Angelia "Love" Henderson
from Atlanta, Ga.

Since you have been single, what have you learned about yourself? I’ve learned that I really DO enjoy my own company.  (giggle)  That hasn’t always been the case.  I was accustomed to having someone around me a constant basis.  Once I was single, it felt like I was missing out on so much.  However, I realized that I wasn’t missing out on anything that wasn’t constructive or needed at that moment.  My self-growth has crashed into my psyche like a tidal wave and has awakened me from a self-loathing fog.  I have no problem taking myself on vacation, out to dinner, or to the movies.

I get it….since you have learned more about yourself, what are you doing now to prepare yourself for a healthy relationship? I am releasing the old ghosts of insecurity, mistrust, and sadness brought on by the dysfunction from my long-term relationship of 20 years.  I now realize that other women are not my EX!!  When I’m tempted to start comparing women I meet now with anyone in my past relationships:  I pause, take a deep breath, and reflect for a brief moment about how far I’ve come in my self-growth.  I am then able to enjoy the person who is right in front of me and not the ones who are behind me. 

I appreciate your commitment to the “now”. When you start dating again, what areas do you think you might struggle with a bit at the beginning? And since you know the areas, how will you assess if a person is a good match? And, what will you share with a potential mate? 

Trust. Some of my past relationships have involved women who weren’t very trustworthy. Lie to me once, shame on you. Lie to me twice, shame on me. I will trust anyone until they give me a reason not to. I came across a quote which pretty much sums of how I feel about honesty: “I look for these qualities and characteristics in people. Honesty is number one, respect, and absolutely the third would have to be loyalty.” ~ Summer Altice ~ I’d much rather a person hurt me with the truth than placate me with a lie. It just doesn’t serve the greater good for either person. Once I’ve lost trust in someone, there’s just no way I will allow them to be close to me or even in my life.

In the famous words of Maya Angelou and Opray Winfrey: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Remember this because it will happen many times in your life. When people show you who they are the first time believe them. Not the 29th time. When a (wo)man doesn't call you back the first time, when you are mistreated the first time, when someone shows you lack of integrity or dishonesty the first time, know that this will be followed many other times, that will some point in life come back to haunt or hurt you. Live your life in truth. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. You will survive anything if you live your life from the point of view of truth.” I also struggle with not wanting to be in the physical presence of my mate 24/7/365. My partner will always have a very special place and space in my thoughts on a daily basis. However, I need time to myself to exhale and just relax. I’ve found that some women take it as indication of me not wanting to be with them. That’s not the case.

Most women admit that they don’t really know what they want in a partner. What characteristics and traits do you want and find most compatible? Which ones are most problematic and why? I love an intelligent woman.  OMG!!  I’m sapiosexual and I desire a woman who can and will woo me with her brains.  I enjoy the company of a woman is well-versed and a wordsmith.  I also look for a woman who is confident in her own skin – she doesn’t need my approval or anyone else’s.  I would say a woman who is not driven is problematic for me.  If she has no desire to do anything other than complain, bemoan someone else’s success, then we won’t get past the initial conversation.  I want to be an asset to someone’s life, not a liability.  I’m looking for the same in my potential mate.  I tend to shy away from know-it-alls … it’s okay to be well-versed; however, to look down your nose at someone and put them down are turn-offs.  Also, I don’t care to be in relationships with needy, clingy or insecure women.  We all have our flaws.  However, it is just not my cup of tea to be with someone who cannot spend a moment alone or handle her business.  Further, I seek a partner who is financially stable and savvy; if we have to exist on a diet of Ramen Noodles to make ends meet, we will do so knowing that our situation isn’t permanent.

When I use to date, I always asked about a potential mate’s love language. What is your love language and how did you learn that about yourself? My love language is “Words of Affirmation”.  I’m happiest when I’m spreading the word of God and uplifting and enlightening someone.  Ironically, Facebook has allowed me to reach so many people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to glean something good on the internet.  I also embrace the “Physical Touch” love language.  There’s nothing like getting a hug or pat on the back from someone when they know that will make your day.

When you find that special one, how will you know? And, what do you love about love? The chemistry will be instantaneous and explosive!!  I can honestly say that I’ve been in love three times in my life.  There was no doubt that in each case, the person had my complete attention and heart.  When the relationships ended, it took me a great deal of time to get over the loss of a loved one (not in the terminal sense).  I’ve never been one to rush into a rebound relationship just to say I’m with someone.  That would be unfair to the other person.  I tend to allow my heart and soul to heal before I decide to start dating.  It’s been almost a year since my last relationship.  I haven’t set a timeframe for when I will start dating again.  I will rely on my heart to let me know when it’s ready. 

I love EVERYTHING about love!!!  It’s not just the fact that saying “I Love You” that gives me goose bumps … it’s also the thought that someone gets me and still desires to be in my space and life.  I know love is an action word and I’m always eager to please my mate (not just materially) but emotionally, physically and spiritually.

From the first time I met you, I have admired your spirit. You have a way of making people feel special and seen. I celebrate that.  What do you admire about yourself?  Thanks, SharRon!!  That means a great deal to me.  I admire the fact that although I was dealt a difficult hand at the age of 13 – I became a parent; I never allowed it to define who or what I was as a person.  Although my pregnancy was unplanned, my son was never unwanted.  I love him to life and back.  Not only did I finish high school on time and with honors, I attended college, got my degree and started a successful career.  My son tells me that I’m his (s)hero!!  I just wouldn’t give up even when some of those around me told me that I wouldn’t amount to anything.  I’ve never allowed situations and circumstances to derail what I know God has planned for me.  Even when folks said I couldn’t and wouldn’t amount to anything, I used their negativity as a basis for wanting to achieve greatness.  I would love to see some of their faces now.

You are my shero too. I admire your determination and perseverance. 13 was such an interesting age for me. If you remember, what did you know or feel about being pregnant at that age? How did you manage being a student and a Mom? Who provided support for you? I was petrified and unsure of my future.  I have to give all thanks and honor to God for blessing me with a great family base … maternal and paternal.  My paternal grandmother was instrumental in how I reared my son.  She never made me ashamed of the fact that I was so young when I gave birth to my son.  I could have gone the route of many teens and quit school and continued having babies.  Instead, she pushed me to succeed at all cost and dismissed the naysayers.  My son’s father was/is very much a part of his life … from day one.  It was never a question of if he would step up to the plate as a father … it was always what could he do to help me achieve my dream of attending college?  It took a village to raise my son … neighbors, friends, family and complete strangers stepped in to make sure I had all of the resources I needed to succeed.  I am forever grateful for God’s grace and mercy for placing those people in my life.

What advice can you offer other teenage moms? Honestly, I would suggest abstinence at all cost.  I know that is probably not going to happen in our fast-paced world.  If a teen is hell-bent on having sex, I would suggest that they have a candid talk with their parent(s) about birth control.  I think us parents often to the ostrich approach when it comes to our children and sex.  We would prefer to bury our heads in the sands rather than address sex education head-on.  My son is 39 years old and had never had any children.  I kept it real with him when it came to becoming a father when he was a teen.  I think heeded my advice.

How would your friends describe you? They would say that I’m loyal, trustworthy, fun-loving, humorous, love to smile, spiritual and kind-hearted.  I’m an only child, so it helps to surround myself with like-minded acquaintances and friends.  I’m a bit of a nerd (one of these days, I WILL be a contestant on Jeopardy)!!  Most things that would appear mundane and uninteresting to some people pique my interest.  I’m as comfortable going fishing as I am interacting in meetings with upper management.  I also enjoy cooking and grilling out with my family and friends.

I know you are happily single, but if someone is interested in you what would you want her to know you do for fun and why? I enjoy reading, writing and photography.  If I had to pick my favorite, it would be writing.  It allows me to voice on paper what I would otherwise not be able to say face-to-face.  When I tell most people that I’m shy, they get a good chuckle.  I have stage fright; yet, I majored in Broadcast Journalism in college.  Go figure!!   I also enjoy going to house parties/gatherings – especially when Spades and Bid Whist are involved.  If someone is interested in getting to know me as a possible love interest, she should be as real as humanly possible.  Don’t send a representative because I detest and loathe superficial and fake women.  I’m not a complicated, needy or vengeful person.  I function in the here and now and prefer not to live my life rehashing the past.  She should know that once she has my mind, the rest of me will follow.  Lastly, she should know that I am a hopeful romantic … there’s nothing hopeless about wanting to cater to my Lady’s wishes when it comes to romance.  I am a great cook, I remember special dates (anniversaries, birthdays, etc.) and I will honor her as the true Queen that she is.  I enjoy traveling and would love to be with someone who is impromptu and enjoys quick, unplanned getaways.

I love how you celebrate and embrace your masculine energy.  When you started growing into who you are, what did you tell your son and how did he respond to your evolution?  I’ve always been a bit of a tomboi!!!  However, it was never something that I could put a word or definition to it.  I just knew I loved being the “father” when we played house.  (KML)  It wasn’t until I moved to Atlanta to attend college that a future lover schooled me on who and what I was.  Talk about a life-changing experience … I have never forgotten the moment of clarity when she told me that I was a lesbian.  (LOL)  I’ve never wanted to me a man then or now.  I just enjoy the freedom I feel embracing who I really am … a chivalrous female who just happens to enjoy the company of feminine women. 

In terms of how my son and I relate when it comes to my masculine energy … it has never been a topic of discussion. I’m still MOM to him and our relationship has always “looked” like the mother-son pairing that it is. He actually gives me dating advice from a male perspective and has screened my potential dates. For me, it’s all about being me no matter comes what may. I love the quote by e. e. cummings regarding staying true to one’s self: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” People get caught up in my outward appearance … I love wearing button-downs, ties and Timberlands. That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten that I am all woman and love my curves and everything associated with being a female.

What important lesson did you learn from your mother that has helped you in life and in relationships? My mother was tragically taken away from me (she was killed by her boyfriend) when I was seven years old.  I knew she loved me … she just wasn’t given enough time to grow into a mother-daughter relationship.  One thing I’ve always said is that she did one of the most selfless things a mother could do:  she made sure I was taken care of by someone who would love and care for me.  She introduced me to my maternal grandmother when I was seven.  A month later, my Mom was shot and killed.  I guess the lesson I learned is that sacrifice and love come in all shapes, sizes, color and situations.  I’m grateful, thankful and forever love what my mom did for me.

Angelia, you have been through a lot. What grounds you and what connects you to your SOURCE?
I’m more spiritual now than I’ve ever been.  I’ve always attended church.  However, I wasn’t being fed.  I’ve found that I don’t have to be in regular attendance to hear and feel God’s words.  Any potential mate would have to have a connection with a higher being and embrace God.  I am steeped in faith.  Honestly, I don’t think my journey is anymore different than a lot of people that I have had the pleasure of meeting.  Though we have traveled different roads to get where we are, God’s the common denominator in us getting there.  I suspect some potential mates tend to shy away from me because I’m about spreading the Word.  There are just some things I’m not willing to barter when it comes to my closeness with God.  I’m not a religious zealot; I just know who’s been there for me when I felt like no one wanted me around, didn’t understand my pain and wasn’t open to love me just because.

Finish this sentence…..before I die I want to….. I want to walk into love with my kindred mate.  I know that sounds like a cliché and somewhat corny.  (Smile)  I don’t plan to fall for anything nor anyone anymore.  I’d like to think I’ve a little more control over my emotions these days.  Since I’ve hit the 50 mark (I’m 52 now), I want to start enjoying life to the fullest … no drama, headaches, heartaches or what-ifs.  Just do the darn thing … whatever it is!!

(Interview conducted by SharRon Jamison)

We thank you for sharing your journey of happiness in singlehood! Your story will encourage, inspire and uplift other singles. We wish you continued success and happiness.www.createloveforwomen.com

Create Love -- Founders
Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison

NO MORE GAMES! Successful Dating Workshop


One workshop 2 dynamic components to help you step up your dating game. Being single should be fun!